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Esoteric to Release Six Vangelis Remasters

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Vangelis Heaven and HellCelebrated Greek electronic composer Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou – or, as he’s known to music lovers the world over, Vangelis – is partnering with the Cherry Red label Esoteric to remaster and reissue six of his albums originally released on the RCA and Arista labels.

By the time Vangelis signed to RCA and released Heaven and Hell in 1975, he’d already traveled quite extensively in the European music scene. From a turn in Greek pop band The Forminx, he’d formed a prog band, Aphrodite’s Child, enjoying success across the continent. He’d also taken on a lot of session and soundtrack work, and was even a candidate to step in to the lineup of Yes after Rick Wakeman’s departure. Ultimately, he forged on as a solo artist, opening his own Nemo Studios in London and recording many of his greatest works from there.

Vangelis’ RCA albums are diverse and experimental, drawing from classical traditions (Heaven and Hell, a two-sided suite that features his first of many collaborations with Yes frontman Jon Anderson on “So Long Ago, So Clear”), pulsing jazz and blues (Albedo 0.39), intricate sequencer-driven melodies (Spirit, the first LP on which Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80, a cornerstone of his later work) and experimental improvisations (Beaubourg, based on a Parisian district in which Vangelis lived in the earlier part of the 1970s).

After a decade in which Vangelis’ star was driven largely by soundtrack work (namely the iconic crossover hit Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner) and three official collaborations with Jon Anderson, 1988 saw the release of Direct, a more pop-influenced, less eclectic album on Arista Records. Three years later, Page of Life was the final album credited to Jon & Vangelis, also released on Arista.

These six albums have been supervised for Esoteric, with approved remastering and redesigned artwork by the composer himself. (These redesigned digipaks greatly resemble the artwork for Universal’s 2007 remasters of two albums by Vangelis with vocals by Irene Papas: Odes (1979) and Rapsodies (1986).) Additionally, two of the discs are expanded: Spiral includes a non-LP B-side, “To the Unknown Man (Part II),” as does Page of Life, which features a CD single-only track called “Sing with Your Eyes.”

All of these titles will hit U.K. shops on November 25. The full track-by-track breakdowns and Amazon U.K. links are after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 9, 2013 at 14:10

Release Round-Up Special: James Taylor, CSN, “Blade Runner” Released by Audio Fidelity

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CSN Gold DiscIn lieu of a standard Release Round-Up this week, here’s a look at the major three titles that are out today: the latest gold discs and SACDs from Audio Fidelity. The titles released today are Crosby, Stills & Nash’s CSN, James Taylor’s Gorilla and Vangelis’ soundtrack album to Blade Runner.

The third studio album by the folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash, released in 1977, is crucially different from the ones before – this time, there’s no contribution from Neil Young. (Young had sat in on 1970’s Déjà Vu and 1971’s live 4 Way Street, all the while making a name for himself in the greater rock canon.) In the time since, Crosby and Nash recorded three albums together, while Stills formed the short-lived Manassas and toured with Young. (A CSNY compilation, So Far, was released in 1974.) A perfect fit with the post-Laurel Canyon rock of Hotel California and RumoursCSN yielded a major hit in “Just a Song Before I Go,” a Top 10 single. This 24-karat gold disc version of CSN has been mastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Audio.

James Taylor’s Gorilla sees the iconic singer-songwriter return to form somewhat after the more muted success of the previous year’s Walking Man, which yielded no hit single and failed to peak within the U.S. Top 10, as his previous three albums for Warner Bros. had done. Gorilla, produced by Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker, featured smooth session work by the likes of Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar and others from the famed session collective “The Section,” and yielded a Top 5 hit with a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” Hoffman also took to Stephen Marsh Audio to master this 24-karat gold disc.

Blade Runner SACDThe film Blade Runner was perhaps too good for its time. Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, was a dark neo-noir sci-fi film, set in a dystopian, overrun Los Angeles and featuring Harrison Ford as a burnt-out detective on one last assignment: to “retire” a set of “replicants” – organically-harvested robots who are near-indistinguishable from humans – who have illegally landed on Earth. Owing to a series of studio-mandated edits and a generally different, E.T.-esque approach to sci-fi at the time, Blade Runner didn’t get its due until the 1990s and 2000s, when a series of re-edits restored the film closer to Scott’s brilliant vision. Owing to the film’s initial failure, an album of the film’s brilliant BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated score, assembled by synthesizer master Vangelis (fresh off an Oscar win for Chariots of Fire) would not be released until 1994. That album program is now mastered for SACD by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio.

All three titles are available today, and can be purchased after the jump.

Crosby Stills & Nash, CSN (24K Gold CD) (originally released as Atlantic SD-19104, 1977 – reissued Audio Fidelity AFZ-144, 2013)

  1. Shadow Captain
  2. See the Changes
  3. Carried Away
  4. Fair Game
  5. Anything At All
  6. Cathedral
  7. Dark Star
  8. Just a Song Before I Go
  9. Run from Tears
  10. Cold Rain
  11. In My Dreams
  12. I Give You Give Blind

James Taylor, Gorilla (24K Gold CD) (originally released as Warner Bros. BS 2866, 1976 – reissued Audio Fidelity AFZ-151, 2013)

  1. Mexico
  2. Music
  3. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
  4. Wandering
  5. Gorilla
  6. You Make It Easy
  7. I Was a Fool to Care
  8. Lighthouse
  9. Angry Blues
  10. Love Songs
  11. Sarah Maria

Vangelis, Blade Runner (SACD) (originally released as Atlantic 82623-2, 1994 – reissued Audio Fidelity AFZ-154, 2013)

  1. Main Titles
  2. Blush Response
  3. Wait for Me
  4. Rachel’s Song
  5. Love Theme
  6. One More Kiss, Dear
  7. Blade Runner Blues
  8. Memories of Green
  9. Tales of the Future
  10. Damask Rose
  11. Blade Runner (End Titles)
  12. Tears in Rain

Written by Mike Duquette

July 16, 2013 at 11:14

In Case You Missed It: Rhino U.K. Goes the Distance for Vangelis

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At this summer’s Olympic Games in London, if there was going to be any film score coming through the speakers, it would be the theme to Chariots of Fire. Vangelis’ synthesizer-based piece has resounded in the popular consciousness for more than 30 years. Running along a beach or looking for energy to complete a task? That piano riff – which helped the film win one of four Academy Awards and topped the Billboard charts for a week in 1982 – will likely play in your head until you finish the task.

Inspired by the Olympic fervor of the past season, Rhino U.K. recently released a double-disc set, simply titled The Collection, in honor of the Greek composer. The man born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou has been at the forefront of electronic, New Age and European popular music for decades, as well as in high demand for film scoring, including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), chronicling Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World.

The set includes a healthy amount of soundtrack material, as well as some of Vangelis’ more pop-oriented work. This includes four tracks in collaboration with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. (The pair had met when Vangelis was considered to replace Rick Wakeman in Yes in 1974; Anderson sang on several Vangelis LPs afterward, and four official collaboration albums were released between 1980 and 1991.) The 31-track set also includes one new track, “Remembering.”

The Collection is available as an import title and can be ordered after the jump. (Thanks to super reader Ludo for the tip!)

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 10, 2012 at 10:34